WMC Press Releases

Women’s Media Center study finds male journalists continue to report most news, especially for wires and TV prime-time evening broadcasts

Click here for the Divided 2019: The Media Gender Gap infographics.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Women’s Media Center (WMC) released its “Divided 2019: The Media Gender Gap” report today. The WMC annually produces its assessment of where women stand as media writers, reporters, correspondents, and anchors in the major news media platforms, including the prime-time broadcast news programs, print publications, wire services and online news sites.

Male journalists report and produce the majority of U.S. news:

  • 69 percent of news wire bylines (AP and Reuters) are snagged by men, 31 percent by women —by far the biggest gender gap in news media.
  • 63 percent of TV prime-time news broadcasts feature male anchors and correspondents; 37 percent feature women.
  • 60 percent of online news is written by men; 40 percent by women.
  • 59 percent of print news is written by men; 41 percent by women

“The media is in a state of great disruption, but despite all the change, one thing remains the same: fewer women report the news than men,” said Julie Burton, President of the Women’s Media Center. “Of particular concern is the gender gap at the wires, whose stories are picked up by news outlets across the country. Media tells us what is important and who matters, and when the wires assign 69 percent of the stories to men, the message is clear where women stand. A cultural, systemic shift is necessary if U.S media is to achieve gender parity — and move toward a world where stories fully represent the voices and perspectives of women.”

Across all media platforms, men receive 63 percent of bylines and credits; women receive only 37 percent.

“Women have been fighting for greater parity and equality in the news media for decades,” said Maya Harris, Co-Chair, Women’s Media Center. “This report shows that more work needs to be done to level the playing field. Women and our male allies will not rest until we see wholesale change.”

Over the last year, the gender gap narrowed at ABC, CBS and NBC, where, combined, according to the 2018 report, the gender gap in network TV news was more glaring than in other news sectors that WMC studied. From the previous studied period to the most recent studied period, ABC made the biggest improvement, with credits to male journalists declining from 88 percent to 65 percent of all credits at the network. At CBS, the share of male credits fell from 68 percent to 62 percent. At NBC, the share of male credits decreased from 68 percent to 62 percent. However, at PBS — where a woman, Judy Woodruff, remains the solo prime-time news anchor since her former co-anchor, Gwen Ifill, died — the share of male credits rose from 55 percent to 64 percent.

“When we watch the evening news, we’re not seeing an America that truly reflects all voices,” said Pat Mitchell, Co-Chair of the Women’s Media Center. “Too often, the voices we hear and the images we see are men. Men largely are reporting and telling the story even though women represent more than half the U.S. population.”

“Divided 2019: The Media Gender Gap” research was conducted by WMC Media Lab.

The research shows that in the print sector the widest gender gap was at USA Today, where 69 percent of articles were written by men and 31 percent by women.

The research examined the most widely circulated print newspapers: the Arizona Republic, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, (New York) Newsday, New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The (San Jose) Mercury News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today.

At the studied news wire services and online news sites, the gender gap widened. The share of men’s bylines at the Associated Press increased from 65 percent to 70 percent; the share of women’s bylines dropped from 35 percent to 30 percent. At Reuters, the men’s share increased from 61 percent to 68 percent, with a corresponding drop for women from 39 percent to 32 percent. Online, the largest gender gap was at The New York Times, where men wrote 67 percent of articles and women 33 percent. Internet outlets included The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, Vox, MSNBC and HuffPost.

The research also analyzed what topics women and men report on. Overall, men overwhelmingly dominate sports coverage, while women are more likely to report on lifestyle and leisure.

WMC’s most recent report looked at a larger number of print and online outlets than did its previous reports and modified the categories and topics. The Women’s Media Center, founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem, is an inclusive and feminist organization that works to make women visible and powerful in the media. We do so by promoting women as decision-makers and as subjects in media; training women to be effective in media; researching and exposing sexism and racism in media; and creating original online and on-air journalism. 

 For more information, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor, director of communications, at cristal@womensmediacenter.com or 202-587-1636.



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